RAP to sponsor park clean-up day Nov. 7

Riverside Avondale Preservation is hosting a clean-up day Nov. 7 at its 26 historic parks. 

Kim Clontz, co-chair of the Parks Committee, said the day was specially chosen so people could work off their post-election angst. 

Residents near each park are being encouraged to pitch in, Clontz said.

Anyone wanting to participate can go to the RAP website and pick one of the parks. The event is from 9 to 11 a.m., and volunteers should bring gardening tools. The City of Jacksonville is providing trash bags and gloves, Clontz said. 

The cleanup is the inaugural event of the revived Friends of the Parks program.

Though some parks, like Boone and Memorial, have groups that actively look after them, some of the smaller parks are overlooked. RAP formed a task force to take a hard look at its parks and how to get the community involved in them, Clontz said. “We were all doing our own thing and some were more organized than others,” she said. 

The task force, headed by Pam Telis, issued its report in December and reviving the Friends of the Parks was a key recommendation. “We worked with the city to re-establish Friends of the Parks, so now we’re all talking to the same people and getting the same services,” Clontz said.

The city’s Friends of the Parks program has been idle because of a concern about whether the city could be sued if someone was injured. The groups were required to have insurance, which they couldn’t afford.

The Jacksonville Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department worked with the city Risk Management Division so that given the limited scope of work done by the Friends of the Park they will not be required to provide insurance.

The city hopes to have Friends of the Parks programs in every neighborhood in the city.

Membership in the Friends of the Parks is a two-to-three-year commitment that involves signing a contract with the city. 

“We want people to understand that these are our parks,” Clontz said. “We can work with the city and control their destiny. We want them to be part of the community. The Friends of the Parks are the eyes and ears for the parks and will alert the city if something needs to be cleaned up or repaired.”

By Lilla Ross
Resident community News

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